This episode features a conversation with three leaders of one of the largest and longest standing summer learning programs geared toward middle-school aged youth: Breakthrough Collaborative. Elissa Vanaver is Breakthrough’s CEO, who has led the organization through a new strategy that looks to codify its programming and solidify its large network of local affiliates across the country serving more than 10,000 students annually. Mariohn Michel and Alex Serna are two of Breakthrough’s local executive directors. Mariohn heads Breakthrough Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama and Alex heads Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano in Southern California.
Elissa, Mariohn, Alex and Jason talk about Breakthrough’s programming for middle schoolers and how that national model takes shape in various local contexts with individual needs, Breakthrough’s human capital strategy to bring talented college students in various fields into education and what effect they have on young adolescents, and vice versa, and Breakthrough’s approach to remote programming, including which elements might stick post-pandemic.
Additional Readings and Resources:
Breakthrough CollaborativeBreakthrough Teaching Fellows“Inspiring Students, Developing Teachers: How A Corps Of College Students Closes Opportunity Gaps & Diversifies The Teacher Pipeline,” March 2021“Breaking Through The Distance: How Relationships Foster Online Learning,” October 2020Breakthrough BirminghamBreakthrough San Juan Capistrano“Whites Only: School Segregation is Back, from Birmingham to San Francisco,” by Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, May 2, 2017.